Experts across the sport and media almost resoundingly agree with oddsmakers over who will claim Euro 2016. Host country France stands head and shoulders above the other 23 nations as the favorite to win the coveted trophy with top minds from BBC, Daily Mail, and Sports Illustrated all singing their praises.
Oddsmakers have pegged Didier Deschamps side as 3/1 favorites, nearly double that of powerhouse and defending World Cup champion Germany at 7/2, and twice reigning Euro titleholder Spain at 11/2, followed by England at 17/2, and Belgium at 9/1, according to Sportsbook.ag.
Experts are leaning heavily on France’s home soil and quality of players, and rightly so in respect to the latter. Of the 21 prognosticators, 11 chose France to win, with five picking Germany and three taking Spain.
In the attack, Les Bleus send out Antoine Greizmann and Olivier Giroud, with midfielders Paul Pogba and Dimitri Payet two of the most feared at their position in the world, and captain and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris another world class player.
However, only three times and not since 1984’s tournament, as the host nation proved victorious. France was the last to do so more than 30 years ago, but Spain beat back all challengers when Poland and Ukraine hosted in 2012 and four years prior in Austria-Switzerland.
Thusly, both Germany and Spain earned three picks from experts, both for their quality rosters and proven championship mettle.
Manager Joachim Low’s German side reached the semifinals four years ago and were runners up in 2008, and could breakdown the tournament’s final barrier with much of the same squad that seemed invincible in Brazil. Forwards Mario Gotze and Mario Gomez, with a devastating midfield of Thomas Muller, Toni Kroos, Mesut Ozil, and Sami Khedira, represent maybe the most potent attack in the entire Euro field.
Spain meanwhile brings a much younger but talented roster to the Euros. The familiar and successful names of Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, Pedro, and Gerard Pique are all present, but Vicente de Bosque will also have to decide how much to make room for emerging forwards Alvaro Morata and Lucas Vasquez, as well as midfielders Koke, and Thiago, all quality younger players that will require pitch time as Spain transitions.
Euro 2016 Expert Predictions
Rio Ferdinand, BBC: France
Thierry Henry, BBC: France
Chris Waddle, BBC: Spain
Jermaine Jenas, BBC: Spain
Jamie Redknapp, Daily Mail: France
Jamie Carragher, Daily Mail: France
Martin Keown, Daily Mail: Spain
Ian Ladyman, Daily Mail, Germany
Matt Lawton, Daily Mail: France
Lee Clayton, Daily Mail: Germany
Sami Mokbel, Daily Mail: Germany
Matt Barlow, Daily Mail: France
Alexander Abnus, Sports Illustrated: England
Avi Creditor, Sports Illustrated: Belgium
Ben Lyttleton, Sports Illustrated: France
Brian Straus, Sports Illustrated: France
Grant Wahl, Sports Illustrated: France
Jonathan Wilson, Sports Illustrated: France
Bobby Ilich, International Business Times: Germany
Jason Le Miere, International Business Times: France
Greg Price, International Business Times: Germany